How to Make Your Laptop a “Portable Device” with Windows Media Player 10

Ok, so one of the things that bothered me about Windows Media Player 10 was that I could not get all of my 5 Star songs off of my main PC and on to my laptop for listening on the road and outside of the house.

Maybe I’m still living in the previous century but I just haven’t embraced the whole Pocket PC, Palm, smart phone, iPod, digital lifestyle yet. I have my laptop. It is so much more powerful than any of the above and I don’t mind carrying around a computer bag. I need something to carry my big oversized Cannon EOS 10D camera around in anyways. There is something peaceful about knowing you have a computer with you wherever you go.

So my problem was with my music. My mp3 collection is much larger than any laptop hard drive can hold. My solution was to copy only my 5 Star rated songs to my laptop hard drive as these are the ones I want to listen to the most anyways. So imagine my excitement when I learned that WMP 10 was going to include a way to create playlists and then export these songs to external devices. And imagine my disappointment when finally trying WMP 10 I found that there was no support for a laptop (my backward thinking but much loved IBM Thinkpad T40) as a portable device.

So here is how I got around this and transferred all of my 5 star mp3s to my laptop. It will work with any playlist.

1. Create a playlist in WMP 10 on your main PC.

2. Select all of the files in your playlist.

3. Right click and go to advanced tag editor

4. In the comments section of the advanced tag editor type in “5 Star” or anything else you want.

5. Open Windows Explorer

6. Right click the drive that your mp3s are on and select search.

7. Click on more advanced options.

8. Click on type of file and select .mp3 or .wma or whatever your poison.

9. Search

10. When the search is done right click on the headers at the top. Make sure “comments” are selected.

11. Double click on the comments heading to sort by comments.

12. Scroll down and find the first “5 Star” or whatever you called it in your comments meta edit, select it, hold shift down and select your last “5 Star” file and then drag and drop over into a folder on your laptop.

13. Do the standard “search for media files” on the laptop to import the copied tracks into your laptop media player.

One caveat. Because you are copying files from multiple folders and pasting them into a single folder you will most likely get dupes in titles although technically different versions of songs. For instance if “02 I Don’t Want to Grow Up” by the Ramones is the same as “02 I Don’t Want to Grow Up” by Tom Waits, then Windows Explorer will ask me if I want to replace the file and I have to say yes. I lose a small fraction of my 5 star mp3s this way and it’s irritating but acceptable.

Not sure if there is anyone else out there that is looking to get a playlist or just part of their collection on their laptop but this is what worked for me. I’m still looking forward, however, to the day when Microsoft appropriately treats laptops as external devices via WMP.